Monday, December 9, 2019

Energy-Driven Task List

I'm a heavy Instagram guy. I love connecting with people from around the world who aren't in my "regular circle." I hear different perspectives on issues, see interesting places, and learn a lot. A number of these folks talk about energy...our personal energy.

Not Sure At First
I'll be honest. Some of this energy talk is a bit much for me to accept. I understand there is more to it than I have learned. But, come on...

And then...a close friend brought up the notion of energy, and how we directly apply it to our work. Yes, I've heard the old message that says "do the toughest work...or most boring work...or most interesting work...when you feel fresh" conversation....but which is it?

Back to my friend, who knows I live and die with Wunderlist. Next thing I knew the whole energy dialogue was framed up in terms of my task list. Whoa! 

Energy driven task list?

"Say that again,"I said. 

Opportunistic with my Energy
That exchange shifted how I think about my work, and my work day. Instead of labeling myself as a morning person, or a night owl, or whatever is in-between; I now view the times when I have a surge of energy as opportunities to destroy my task list.

When my energy is high, I capitalize on it and roar through my list. When my energy is low, I don't beat myself up for not feeling just right at my previously scheduled time to "have energy."

Genius? Maybe not.
Incredibly effective? Oh, yes.

How About You
How do you maximize your effectiveness each day, without the leadership guilt trip that "you should be doing so much more right now?" As my Instagram friends will tell you...tune into your own energy...and make it work for you.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Okay, quick moment of candor. Lots of people talk about leading their organizations, and many of those same people don't have the chops to execute. Oh, but they have convinced themselves they do.

I've been in the leadership game a long, long time. Not someone who dabbled in it for a couple of years and then bailed out to consult for the next half century. No, I've been a practitioner for two decades...which basically means I've seen a lot...made a bunch of mistakes along the way...and behave far differently today than I did way back when.

The first lesson for me was finding my voice. 

Leading with courage...or leading in a gossipy meeting with my clique behind the bright lights of reality...are two very different things.

Once I learned that real leadership would require that I make decisions alone; stand for what is right alone; and that I would earn the respect of my colleagues and employees alone; I knew I was moving away from just being a big talker.

The second lesson was understanding the power of connecting with the whole team in my organizations, not just the ones with fancy job titles. There is something alluring to the novice leader (regardless of their years of experience) when they are around senior executives.

Sadly, the credibility leaders earn only comes in small part from chasing around those executives. 

The real gusto comes from being approachable to everyone. 

How many of those 'leaders' make it a priority to spend time rounding, or stopping to talk with people, or making themselves available to an employee even when their calendar is double-booked all day?

I highly recommend putting people first. You will be amazed how important they become, and how worthless some of your "leadership" issues are.

How About You
What lessons have you learned about leadership over the years? Do you still believe meetings are what makes your organization successful; or, is there a human connection that removes the label of silhouette from your nickname?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, November 25, 2019

Employee Voice as a Strategic Priority

We've all heard, and most of us (hopefully) have adopted employee voice strategies in our organizations, right? We've built formal systems that allow our 'most valuable assets' to participate in our success.

More Than Talk
Plenty of organizations wrestle with the concept of the war for talent, addressing culture change, empowering staff, and on and on. 

It is the precious few though, that put those words into action. 

Policy changes that formalize employee voice channels...leadership visibility on a massive, sustainable scale...and taking action based on employee feedback are hallmarks of the most successful organizations. 

Do you have these systems in place yet?

Head In the Sand
If you are not one of the organizations that has committed to a positive employee culture, be warned. Simply because you have a long list of justifications as to why certain things need to be done (which oddly enough lines up exactly with your way of thinking); that does not mean your team is blindly following along.

Do you believe all of your employees simply follow you regardless of their insights?

How About You
Right now is the perfect time to pause and consider how you can provide a new level of leadership for your organization. What communication channels can you establish to create the culture you desire? What are you afraid of hearing from your people? 

It's better to be proactive now, instead of facing a dramatic shift in morale later, right?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, November 18, 2019

Change Management: The Story Matters Most

Here's a shocking revelation for you...changing how we behave in the workplace is hard. 

Really, really hard. 

Yet as leaders we throw the phrase culture change around like we are passing out candy on Halloween.

The Long Haul Vision
Wanting to change your organization's culture, whether it's to pull out of an employee morale ditch; to address major changes underway; or to build the energy for an exciting new period of growth, requires a vision that is sustainable over a period of years.

Culture change does not happen quickly. Ever. At least in a positive direction.

So, who is responsible for this vision of the future? That's not as easy an answer as one might think. Of course the senior leadership team must articulate a global vision for the future. However, neglecting the input from the team is a treacherous path that should be avoided.

The combination of strategic vision and employee buy-in is powerful. 

Really, really powerful.

The Compelling Story
The hardest part is actually not the visioning process, or collecting input from the team. The hardest part is always execution. Sustaining the message over time, particularly when the inevitable challenges arise are exactly when the true skills of the leadership team become apparent.

How many of us have seen grand roll outs of "new and life-changing programs" at our organizations over the years, only to see them drift and die?

You've put in the time to build your vision.
You've put together a compelling story that touches each employee.
Stay the course. You've earned this opportunity to truly change your organization!

How About You
Are you considering real change in your company? If so, invest the time and resources to build your vision, create your story, and stay focused through the highs and lows. It will be worth it!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, November 11, 2019

There's No Such Thing As Weak Leadership

Have you ever heard the comment..."oh, he's a weak leader." Maybe you've said it yourself. Candidly, I have too. Ouch.

We all talk about...or should talk about...setting proper expectations with our leadership teams. 

What should they focus on? 
Where should they put their development time? 
How will their success be measured? 
What can they expect from us as their senior leaders?

Friends, I've heard these questions asked for years, literally. Yet somehow they keep coming up again and again. How is that possible? In some instances I've been exposed to sophisticated onboarding and leader pathway processes. In others, I hear the tired excuses of leaders who want to do well, but just don't know how to be effective. 

I'm convinced the secret to weeding out the failing leaders is simply to hold them accountable. Be firm and fair. But, they must be held accountable. 

Here's the tricky part...most of these leaders believe they are doing a good job. They have convinced themselves they are above the fray and untouchable. Imagine their shock when they are provided coaching that does not continue to inflate their already overinflated egos?

Look out!

How About You
What is to be done when a leader is struggling? Do them....have an off-the-record pep talk with them...hmmm?

How about we step up and handle it directly? It's harder this way, but you can do it. Oh, and it's also the "leader" part of leadership.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Remote Leader Life

There is a lot of content out there about remote worker life. Lots of questions too... do you stay connected to your employees? do you ensure productivity remains high? do you extend your on-site corporate culture to your distributed team?

The list could go on and on, right? 

Wait, What?
One of the groups that I rarely see mentioned, and to which I belong, is remote leadership. 

For more than twenty years I drove to a specific location for my "work." It was familiar, routine, comfortable, and was what I thought "work" was supposed to look like.

Until it didn't look that way any longer.

Suddenly I didn't have a place to go to; but instead, was 100% virtual. Whoa. What just happened here? 

Where are all of the conference rooms? 
Where are all of the wasted moments spent walking between meetings?
Where are all of the people interrupting me?

Hidden Opportunities
Staying connected to colleagues, team members, and clients is a real challenge. Keeping an open mind relative to video technology, for me, has been crucial. Seeing people...not just hearing them on a conference so powerful. Get over your hang-ups and embrace it.

Consider the dramatic drop in interruptions as a gift to you from your coworkers. Take full advantage of the time you have and go for it. Attack your to do list, and feel how satisfying it can be when you own your day vs. your day owning you.

Lastly, use the flexibility you have in your schedule to stay connected to humanity. 

When I know I have a few hours where I won't need to be on the phone, I head for a local coffee shop. I'm still head down with my work, but I'm around other humans. That energizes me and helps me feel much less isolated.

How About You
Perhaps the lesson in all of this if finding the proper balance. Remote life isn't for everyone; nor should everyone be stuck commuting to and from an office that does not support a healthy work environment.

I feel incredibly blessed to have successfully made the transition from office a healthy mix of virtual, corporate office, and the great big off-site world. Is remote work part of your world?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Everything You Can Imagine

What is it about how we see the world? Some see the negatives, live in fear, and move so cautiously they miss any realistic chance of making a difference.

Others move so rapidly that they don't pause for even a moment to consider the impact of their reckless decision-making style.

Still others are so full of confidence that they are sure their approach is the right one. Until it's not.

Finding Balance
As someone who has a...shall we say, healthy ego...finding the sweet spot between confidence and arrogance can be challenging at times. 

Maybe you struggle with that too. Since I've been around the block more times than I care to count, that elusive thing known as experience has suddenly become an ally. 

It guides me...protects me...and spurs me on when I see opportunities that others don't see.

Blind Spots
But where is that balance? How do we find it when we know, whether we would like to admit it or not, that we have blind spots...even with all of our 'experience?'

Having a team that you trust around you makes a big difference. When you trust your team, ideas can be shared, different perspectives can be examined, and the best plan can be executed.

In the absence of that culture, you are destined to fall prey to those blind spots. Right?

How About You
Lead the way and build the culture in your organization that allows for growth, camaraderie and trust. Just imagine what could be possible!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.